Sunday 28 February 2016

Portraits of Justice #23: Bayan {Beit Sahur, Palestine}

It's week #23 with Portraits of Justice, and I introduce you to Bayan from {Beit Sahour, Palestine.  I met Bayan a year ago in Bogota, Colombia, where she successfully and passionately advocated for global support from the WSCF for justice in Palestine.  Just last week stayed with her and her family in Palestine. 
 Bayan asked to have her photos taken in front of the Western Wall, the separation barrier constructed between the Palestine territories and the state of Israel. This wall is seen by many as a global symbol of oppression and injustice.  As it is one of her major obstacles in the pursuit of justice in her context, I count Bayan's portrait among the most powerful in this collection.


"How does justice look like in my country? Actually we don't have justice in my country, because we are under occupation. We are working to have our rights. Justice for us is to have our rights to move, to study, to have a good job, to have a good salary, to live like other people in other cities; all of this we do not have." 

"Another important this is safety: safety we do not have. We sometimes think about what we will do, for the same day, we do not think about tomorrow or the next year, because of the occupation. Maybe they will come and arrest us because we are saying something I know many children that are under age, they are arrested because they just threw a stone. "
"We live and breathe in three religions. I think we can live in that. In Palestine, we don't have with Muslims the same fight as the Middle East, as we have the same issues. We are working together. I feel the Muslims are my sisters and my brothers. Also I have to mention there are Jewish who support us in my country, and they do not announce the Israel state. For me this is beauty."  

"I have many hopes, personally. To have a family, to have kids. But also I am afraid. I am really afraid. If I want to get married and to have kids, I don't want for my kids to live in my situation. I don't want that. Even if I have been in a perfect school, a perfect university, I studied theology in Bethlehem University, and as a tour guide, my situation is good, my parents are the perfect persons. If I asked for something, they give it to me. I am not afraid from these things. I am afraid of my kid tomorrow will ask me 'why, why are we living here? Why do we not immigrate?'. I don't want to put myself in this situation, because it is really hard. All the time when I was a kid and I was looking at the TV saying, 'oh! I wish I could, for example, I could skydive. I wish we had in Palestine a Disney Land. I wish I can play everywhere'. All the time, “I wish I wish I wish” And I grew up without out this. We don't have the right to movement."

"I don't know if its justice, but we have government, we have rules, we work on it. Justice for us is to get our freedom, that is justice. To be equal, to get our human rights. As I said, we don't have our human rights. We live like the dogs, the dogs live better than us!"


"I think that God put me in Palestine because I have a message, and to spread it all over the world. What I did today [successfully advocating justice for Palestine with WSCF], it was just an amazing thing for myself. I texted my best friend and told her, finally, finally I have done something for my country. Finally. It was – sorry! (starts crying).

"It was my dream to talk and share with people what we are living, what we are suffering, all these things I have said. Its not about movement! It's about how we don't have an airport. We have only one way to go outside Palestine, which is through Jordan (And in Gaza, through Egypt). Also, the Israeli controls our water, they control everything! OK, let Israel control this water – but why do they not give us our right on water? I know families in Beit Sahour who suffer in this. They don't have water for 14 days and more and more. Sometimes we don't have water in our houses for one month and more! We want to have showers, we want to cook, we want to clean! We are trying now to stop drinking water from the tap, and we are buying water. Maybe then we will reduce the water we use, and we can use it to clean or bathe. When I was in Lebanon, they asked me to wash some tomatoes. I was opening the water so slowly, because I don't want to waste water. They just opened it fully and said, we have water!"

"Even though we lived with all these things, I have to say that we still keep hope alive."

1 comment:

  1. It's as though there's a hierarchy of Justice needs, and before the higher needs can be widely pursued, the basic rights must first be pursued. A right to food, water and shelter; assurance of safety when walking across a border to get these things; and the right of children to play with songs and stones.